The devastation, and cost to human life are truly tragic, and the people of the Philippines deserve our sympathy and assistance. They have mine.
What is not needed is opportunistic and misguided pleas to ‘legislate’ the weather.
The Philippines representative to the UN recently made an emotional plea to strengthen the Kyoto Protocol, with the idea that doing so would lessen the severity of future tragedies.
While touting Yolanda as the “strongest typhoon ever,” makes for an impressive news headline, it belies the historical perspective of weather in the Philippines – and elsewhere.
Typhoon is after all, just another word for Hurricane, and the next highest wind speed in a hurricane was measured back in 1969.
Of course wind is just one part of a typhoon’s strength, rain and the destruction that comes with it, is another.
According to the Philipines Humanitarian Response website, the worst hit area was around Maasin City, which had more than more than 17 inches of rain over a three day period – or about up to a person’s kneecaps.
As much as that is – and it is a lot – it is nowhere close to being the worst ever.
That distinction belongs to a Typhoon which passed over Baguio City dropping 87 inches – or over the heads of every player in the NBA.
But there was no NBA, nor was there a UN, nor a Kyoto Protocol when Baguio City was it hit by a super-typhoon. That was way back in 1911.
The Philippines is hit by 6 to 9 every year, sometimes more, sometimes less.
2013 has been quite a bad year. So far, 30 storms of Tropical Storm strength or higher have hit the island nation.
But that is the same number of storms as other bad years such as 1990, 1972, 1966, and 1962.
And in each of those years, there have been between 2 and 7 “super-typhoons” such as Yolanda, which is the fifth this year.
But other years have been much worse.
In 1964 for example, there were 39 storms in total, and in 1965 there were 11 ‘super-typhoons.’
Nothing has changed in the Philippines.
It was and is the most exposed country in the world to these violent weather systems. And it will continue to be regardless of what well-intentioned, misguided bureaucrats in the U.N. want to pretend they can control.
Like most of the Tropical Storms that the Philippines endures, Yolanda started in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in this case near the island of Pohnpei.
Nowhere near any nation that could be affected by the Kyoto Protocol, nor anywhere near ocean currents or air streams from those nations.
Instead of crying and going on a hunger strike, perhaps the Philippines representative to the U.N. would do more good back home helping the people who are so desperately in need, instead of pretending he can control the weather with a piece of paper and tears.